Chemical footprinting comes of age

July 13, 2020 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

Chemical footprinting comes of age Meg Wilcox Mon, 07/13/2020 – 02:00 When the Chemical Footprint Project launched in December 2014, it aspired to become the next carbon footprint or the next widely used tool for measuring company performance on a critical sustainability concern — toxic chemical use in the manufacturing of products.  It’s made steady progress since then, with 31 companies, including Levi Strauss, Walmart and HP Inc., using the Chemical Footprint Project’s annual survey to inventory and report on their hazardous chemical use, as well as their progress towards safer alternatives.  Last month, however, the initiative scored a big win that just might bring it closer to reaching its lofty goal. Nearly 45 percent of TJX Companies’ shareholders voted in favor of a resolution calling on the discount retailer to report on its plans to reduce its chemical footprint (the “chemicals of concern” used to manufacture the products it sells in its stores).   “To get that kind of vote on this ask, that sends a message,” said Cherie Peele, program manager at the Chemical Footprint Project.  Investors, it seems, want more transparency from companies about how they are moving toward safer chemicals, to manage their risks and respond to consumer preferences. Socially responsible investors are further concerned about the environmental justice implications of the science linking hazardous chemical exposure to chronic diseases such as diabetes because communities of color bear the brunt of chemical production. This investor interest just may spur more companies to take up chemical footprinting, and particularly as they see their high-performing peers reap the rewards of consumer trust in their brands. The chemical footprint provides a way to not just say that we care about safer chemicals and green chemistry, but demonstrate it by measuring the process towards safer chemicals. The TJX vote was “a good demonstration that the E in ESG is not just about climate or water, it includes chemicals. It’s something that I hope companies take to heart,” said Boma Brown-West, senior manager of consumer health at EDF+Business.  The strong vote surprised the investors who filed the proposal, Trillium Asset Management LLC and First Affirmative Financial Network , because it was the first time such a resolution had been brought to a vote. Ordinarily, such first-time shareholder resolutions receive single-digit votes. That fact that it got over 40 percent is “an indication that some major institutional money managers voted in favor,” said Holly Testa, director of shareholder engagement at First Affirmative Financial Network. “It’s an indication that there’s widespread investor interest in this issue. It’s a mainstream concern.” “I think it’s going to set a precedent for future work on [chemical footprinting],” said Susan Baker, vice president of Trillium Asset Management. “I have to give credit to the leaders out there that have policies and are really listening to the changes in the marketplace. They’re gaining competitive advantage.” Roger McFadden, president of McFadden and Associates and former senior scientist at Staples for 10 years, said he sees corporate interest in chemical footprinting rising. Whereas in the past, “they were afraid their footprint wouldn’t be all that good,” or they feared they might not stack up well against their direct competitors, now, he says, “I think that’s the exact reason chemical footprinting is catching on. Enough companies are doing it that their competitors are beginning to pay attention to it.”  Brand value and competitive advantage A core advantage for companies participating in the chemical footprint survey “boils down to building trust, protecting your brand,” said McFadden, pointing to recent examples where companies have taken big economic and reputational hits when the health impacts of toxic ingredients in their products came to light — namely, the weed killer Roundup and baby powder.   “The chemical footprint provides a way to not just say that we care about safer chemicals and green chemistry, but demonstrate it by measuring the process towards safer chemicals,” he said.  Trillium filed the shareholder resolution with TJX in part because it saw the discount retailer lagging behind its peers. “There wasn’t evidence that they were taking a proactive approach in keeping abreast of regulatory changes and consumer preferences,” Baker told GreenBiz. “They really need to think about responsible sourcing, and how it impacts customer trust,” she added, pointing to retailers measuring their chemical footprints and moving toward safer alternatives. “Look at Target. They have all these private label brands that are attracting people into their stores. Their customers trust their brands.” TJX did not respond to GreenBiz’s request for comment; however, in its 2020 Proxy Statement it noted, “The company is already taking steps to better understand and appropriately address how the company manages its chemical footprint. … Developing and implementing a comprehensive chemical policy is especially complex in light of the company’s off-price business model,” which involves buying from a vast universe of vendors.  In response, Baker and Testa point to Dollar Tree, which has a similar off-price business model yet nevertheless participated in the 2019 Chemical Footprint Survey and has committed to eliminating 17 hazardous chemicals from products in its stores. COVID-19 spurs environmental justice concerns As evidence mounts that chemical exposure has effects on chronic disease, such as diabetes, obesity and heart disease — and that individuals with those health conditions are more vulnerable to the coronavirus — socially responsible investors are wanting more disclosure and action from companies on chemical risks, Testa told GreenBiz. “The connections are becoming clearer…” she said, and “that has staggering economic and societal consequences.”  Research documents that the chemical plants that produce the chemicals used in everyday products are often sited in communities of color, in areas some call sacrifice zones . “If the brands and retailers can start a program of reducing these chemicals, it’s going to go upstream and reduce the impacts of air and water pollution to the most vulnerable in this country,” Baker said. The Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia has been linking environmental justice and chemical risk concerns in its work with retailers such as Dollar Tree and oil and gas companies with stores or facilities in communities of color. “We are tying the pandemic, climate change, environmental justice and human rights. They’re very much linked to one another,” said Sister Nora Nash. Even just beginning the process is a leadership role. We’d like to think that anybody who’s participating, we see them in a leadership role. For companies such as Dollar Tree and TJX, it “hits both sides,” Testa added. Much of the companies’ products are made in countries with low standards for protecting workers from chemical exposure, and their consumer bases also have a high representation of lower income and minority communities purchasing their products. Such products may contain chemicals of high concern if the company is not assessing its chemical footprint.  The next carbon footprint? With just 31 companies reporting their chemical footprints, the initiative has a way to go before it becomes as widespread as the carbon footprint. Peele says that “we’re still in the process of socializing” the survey. The Chemical Footprint Project survey is also evolving every year as it works with companies on the challenges of collecting and reporting information that comes from many places within a company.  McFadden agrees that it takes time for a reporting scheme to become mainstream, noting that the carbon footprint had slow uptake initially because companies were unsure about it. And he notes that carbon is just one chemical, whereas chemical footprinting is thousands of chemicals.  Still he sees potential for the chemical footprint to become just as mainstream as the carbon footprint, particularly once companies get over the fear factor of “What am I measuring?” and “What if my grade makes us look bad?” To that Peele responds, “Even just beginning the process is a leadership role. We’d like to think that anybody who’s participating, we see them in a leadership role.” Ultimately, if investors don’t spur more companies to report their chemical footprint, consumers just might do the job.  “The next generation, my kids and grandkids, they’re not going to accept the things … that my generation accepted,” McFadden said. “They’re going to expect much more transparency and disclosure. Companies are going to have to recognize that. If they push back against that, they’re going to push back against their customers.”  Pull Quote The chemical footprint provides a way to not just say that we care about safer chemicals and green chemistry, but demonstrate it by measuring the process towards safer chemicals. Even just beginning the process is a leadership role. We’d like to think that anybody who’s participating, we see them in a leadership role. Topics Chemicals & Toxics Investing Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) On Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off

Originally posted here:
Chemical footprinting comes of age

Charles Library boasts one of Pennsylvania’s largest green roofs

May 20, 2020 by  
Filed under Green

Comments Off on Charles Library boasts one of Pennsylvania’s largest green roofs

Contemporary, sustainable and welcoming, Temple University’s new Charles Library in Philadelphia raises the bar for research libraries around the world. Completed by  Snøhetta  for $135 million in 2019, the new LEED Gold-targeted Charles Library is not only a beacon of energy-efficient design, but also integrates a diversity of collaborative and social learning spaces that are typically left out of traditional research libraries. The new library also boasts a 47,300-square-foot green roof — one of the largest in Pennsylvania — that covers over 70% of the building’s roof surface and is part of a stormwater management system designed to manage all rainwater runoff on the approximately three-acre site, plus an additional acre of off-site impervious ground.  Built to replace the Paley Library, the Charles Library offers more than double the number of study spaces compared to its 1960s predecessor. The 220,000-square-foot  library  is located at the intersection of two major pedestrian pathways, Polett Walk and Liacouras Walk, and responds to its high-traffic location with an inviting public-facing design that includes generous plazas sloping up to the library entrances. Large expanses of glazing and grand wooden arched entrances cut into the split-faced granite facade help emphasize a welcoming atmosphere. Inside, the building is centered on a large domed atrium lobby that offers views of every corner of the building. Natural light is a key feature of the new library, particularly on the sun-filled fourth floor where visitors are encouraged to wander through stacks of the library’s browsable collection. The fourth floor also looks out on views of the lush  green roof  and gardens, which are planted with over 15 different species to provide a rich urban habitat for pollinators.  Related: LEED Gold-targeted library and community park has otherworldly appeal The 47,300-square-foot green roof is part of the library’s  stormwater management  system that also includes pervious paved plazas and paths as well as landscaped planting beds. Rainwater that infiltrates these permeable surfaces are directed into two underground catchment basins that can store and process nearly half a million gallons of water during storm events.  + Snøhetta Images © Michael Grimm

See the rest here:
Charles Library boasts one of Pennsylvania’s largest green roofs

PAU unveils carbon-neutral Sunnyside Yard masterplan in NYC

March 13, 2020 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on PAU unveils carbon-neutral Sunnyside Yard masterplan in NYC

Global architecture firm Practice for Architecture and Urbanism (PAU) has revealed a masterplan for transforming over 180 acres of underutilized land in Western Queens’ Sunnyside Railyard into a thriving mixed-use neighborhood with a net carbon-neutral footprint. Developed in collaboration with a multidisciplinary design team on behalf of the City of New York, the ambitious urban revitalization project seeks multiple sustainability targets, from equitable economic growth and placemaking to the implementation of on-site renewable energy and energy storage systems.  Created in partnership with New York City’s Economic Development Corporation and Amtrak, the Sunnyside Railyard masterplan envisions a mixed-use program comprising 12,000 new 100% affordable residential units, 60 acres of open public space, a new Sunnyside Station to connect Western Queens with the Greater New York region, ten schools, two libraries, over 30 childcare centers, five healthcare facilities and five million square feet of new commercial and manufacturing space to stimulate new middle-class job growth.  Walkability  and livability will be major drivers behind the design and have informed decisions to incorporate more mid-rise scale buildings, anti-displacement strategies and an abundance of connective green space. “At over 180 acres, the Yard represents our city’s most significant opportunity to realize shared progressive goals all in a carbon-neutral environment that will set a model globally for sustainable urban growth while maintaining a scale and density reflective of Western Queens,” explained Vishaan Chakrabarti, Founder of PAU. “Neighboring communities now have a unique opportunity to leverage this Plan to address long-standing needs in terms of transportation, housing , jobs, open space, social infrastructure, and environmental resilience.” Related: Striking LEED Silver-targeted tower to rise in the heart of Philadelphia A major highlight of the masterplan is the “deck” that will be built over 80% of the existing rail yard to create a new elevated neighborhood that seamlessly connects with the rail operations below. The deck will also provide a new way for people to traverse Sunnyside Station — a new regional rail hub — on foot, bike or wheelchair. To meet carbon-neutral targets, the masterplan also calls for renewable energy systems, cutting-edge building technologies such as  mass timber  and the inclusion of an institute dedicated to research and development of clean technologies. + PAU Images via PAU

Continued here: 
PAU unveils carbon-neutral Sunnyside Yard masterplan in NYC

Modern townhome in Philadelphia combines functionality and sustainability

December 18, 2019 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on Modern townhome in Philadelphia combines functionality and sustainability

Constructed with reinforced concrete and structural steel, the Red House is one home in a collection of three townhouses located in the northern Point Breeze neighborhood of Philadelphia . Custom, artistic elements throughout the property paired with the sustainable and efficient features give this building its unique, eco-friendly flair. Each home is 3,200 square feet in size, 18 feet wide and four stories tall. The complex is entirely electric-running and designed to operate a 7.37kW grid-tied, roof-mounted PV solar panel system. Apart from providing the owner with a significant cost reduction for utilities, the solar panels produce no carbon dioxide emissions. Related: Striking, LEED Silver-targeted tower to rise in the heart of Philadelphia All of the appliances and features in the homes are designed to maximize the efficiency of the massive rooftop solar panel. A one-car, heated garage comes complete with an electric car charger . To provide a great deal of natural light and natural airflow from front to back, there are 6-foot, wall-to-wall, aluminum-clad wood casement windows on the northern side, as well as double and single 5-foot casement windows on the southern side. The home is heated by a hydronic radiant heating system installed into the floors, complete with the ability to control the temperature of each individual floor separately to reduce excess electricity when all zones aren’t being used. On the second floor, you’ll find a spacious open plan that welcomes guests into a casual space for living, dining and cooking. The interiors are marked with an industrial design scheme; the modern, open kitchen utilizes stainless steel countertops and cabinetry inset with local black walnut wood embellishments. In each townhome, there are four bedrooms in total, dispersed among the first and third floors as well as the master bedroom on the fourth floor. Each of the three full baths are designed with colorful, handmade tiles from Spain. Families who need more space can make use of the finished basement, which is fully heated, insulated and waterproof. Outside, the green backyard was contained using corrugated metal fencing. Meanwhile, the roof deck provides a unique view of the Philadelphia skyline. + Octo Studio Photography by HomeJab via Octo Studio

Read the original post: 
Modern townhome in Philadelphia combines functionality and sustainability

30 of world’s largest cities have hit peak greenhouse gas emissions milestone, C40 analysis shows

October 9, 2019 by  
Filed under Green

Comments Off on 30 of world’s largest cities have hit peak greenhouse gas emissions milestone, C40 analysis shows

The international community has collaboratively crusaded to quickly reach peak global greenhouse gas emissions . By doing so, they hope to alleviate worldwide temperature rise and related climate disasters. A recent report confirms that 30 of the world’s largest cities — all members of the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group — have completed their peak greenhouse gas emission milestones. What does it mean when a country or city “peaks” its greenhouse gas emissions? As part of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Paris Agreement , first enacted in 2016, countries across the globe — and their respective cities, some of which are members of the C40 — have agreed to decrease global warming by keeping the collective planet-wide temperature rise to no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius. To ensure this, the countries that have signed the Paris Agreement have set goals to drastically reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. When a country’s emissions levels have reversed substantially, they are described as having “peaked” at last, so they are now capable of industrially operating at emissions levels far below their “peak” point. Related: Cities around the world lay the groundwork for a zero-waste future According to the World Resources Institute (WRI) , “peaking” really began even before the Paris Agreement was established. For instance, by 1990, 19 countries were documented to have peaked their greenhouse gas emission levels . By 2000, an additional 14 countries reached their critical milestones. A decade later, in 2010, 16 more countries joined the list of countries that have peaked, including the United States and Canada, which both peaked in 2007. Meanwhile, in 2005, the multinational organization now known as C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, or C40 for short, was founded when representatives from 18 mega-cities cooperatively forged an agreement to address widespread pollution and climate change. The group began with 18 cities and has grown significantly since then. Interestingly, the C40, on its 10th anniversary back in 2015, was instrumental in shaping the Paris Agreement prior to its 2016 ratification. Now, ahead of the C40 World Mayors Summit, a new analysis just revealed that 30 of the world’s largest and most influential cities — all members of C40 — have each achieved their respective peak greenhouse gas emissions goals. The 30 cities include Athens, Austin, Barcelona, Berlin, Boston, Chicago, Copenhagen, Heidelberg, Lisbon, London, Los Angeles, Madrid, Melbourne, Milan, Montreal, New Orleans, New York City, Oslo, Paris, Philadelphia, Portland, Rome, San Francisco, Stockholm, Sydney, Toronto, Vancouver, Venice, Warsaw and Washington, D.C. The C40 analysis further disclosed that these 30 influential cities have helped to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an average of 22 percent, which is encouraging. “The C40 cities that have reached peak emissions are raising the bar for climate ambition, and, at the same time, exemplifying how climate action creates healthier, more equitable and resilient communities,” said Mark Watts, executive director of C40 Cities.  To further its endeavors, C40 has launched the C40 Knowledge Hub . It is an online platform dedicated to informing and inspiring policies to ramp up global climate initiatives that can encourage even more sustainable changes to protect the planet. + C40 Image via Anne Hogdal

Read the original here:
30 of world’s largest cities have hit peak greenhouse gas emissions milestone, C40 analysis shows

Striking LEED Silver-targeted tower to rise in the heart of Philadelphia

August 29, 2019 by  
Filed under Green

Comments Off on Striking LEED Silver-targeted tower to rise in the heart of Philadelphia

The heart of Philadelphia will soon be transformed with Schuylkill Yards, a $3.5 billion masterplanned neighborhood in University City that will include two mixed-use towers, one of which will target LEED Silver certification. Developer Brandywine Realty Trust recently unveiled designs for the pair of towers — dubbed the East and West Towers — designed by global architecture firm Practice for Architecture and Urbanism (PAU) . The glass-enveloped buildings will combine modern design elements with historical references, from color palettes inspired by the traditional materials common in the area to the window typology of the old Pennsylvania Railroad rail cars. Set to transform 14 acres next to Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station, Schuylkill Yards will replace parking lots with a neighborhood comprising nearly 7 million square feet of offices, residences, retail shops, hotels, green space and life science and innovation space. The PAU-designed East and West Towers will also offer a mix of programming. Related: World’s first solar-powered, indoor vertical farm sprouts in Philadelphia Designed “as cousins,” the complementary towers will have distinct personalities — the West Tower will have a more neutral exterior facade with a simple monolithic form, and the LEED Silver -seeking East Tower will have eye-catching massing that splits the building into three staggered tiers with a bold red color palette. Both buildings will be elevated on fluted pedestals to create an engaging pedestrian thoroughfare. Towering at 512 feet tall, the East Tower will offer 34 floors of office space, 7,000 square feet of retail and a dedicated amenity level on the 14th floor. Its dynamic massing is engineered to maximize its building footprint and green space while mitigating wind concerns and improving sight lines of Philadelphia . The smaller and more demure West Tower will stand at around 360 feet and offer 9,000 square feet of retail, 219,000 square feet of residential, 200,000 square feet of office space and covered parking. Its designated luxury amenity floor will be located in the ninth floor. Construction on the East and West Towers is set to begin in 2020. + Practice for Architecture and Urbanism Images via PAU and Brandywine Realty Trust

More: 
Striking LEED Silver-targeted tower to rise in the heart of Philadelphia

Extreme heat wallops US

July 18, 2019 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on Extreme heat wallops US

If you live in the central or eastern U.S., it’s time to fill your ice trays and seek shade as a major heat wave will put 50 million Americans under a heat warning this week. People in Nashville, Chicago, Kansas City, Philadelphia, New York, Washington, D.C. and many other cities will be fanning themselves as temperatures top 95 degrees. High humidity will intensify the effect. “The prolonged duration of the heat and humidity will potentially become dangerous to those most vulnerable,” the National Weather Service warned. The heat wave will probably last at least three days. Related: Heatwave roasts mussels alive in California Climate scientists predict that by the mid-21st century, Americans will face an average of 36 days annually when the heat index surpasses 100 degrees, and 24 days when it exceeds 105. By 2100, those numbers could rise to 54 and 40. “Our analysis shows a hotter future that’s hard to imagine today,” said UCS senior climate scientist Kristina Dahl, according to Newsweek . In addition to direct health risks of scorching weather , heat waves bring other dangers and inconveniences to cities. More people cranking air conditioners lead to power fails. Places like Manhattan— which is served by underground delivery systems that heat up as the ground gets hot— are especially susceptible to blackouts. Scientists predict that the current heat wave will bring record high overnight lows in many cities, and that this pattern will also continue to rise with climate change. This phenomenon presents a serious health risk, as people’s bodies don’t have a chance to cool overnight. Via EcoWatch Image via NASA Earth Observatory

Read the original:
Extreme heat wallops US

A new study estimates how many people will die from global heating in your city

June 6, 2019 by  
Filed under Green

Comments Off on A new study estimates how many people will die from global heating in your city

A new study reveals the severity of global heating by calculating how many heat-related deaths would occur in major U.S. cities if the world continues to heat at the current rate. New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia and Miami are predicted to see the highest number of deaths every year, but with each half degree cooler that the world remains, hundreds of lives can be saved. The study estimates that if the world continues on the current path to heat up to 3 degrees Celsius above the average pre-industrial global temperature, 5,800 people would die annually from heat-related deaths in New York City, 2,500 in Los Angeles and 2,300 in Miami. The analysis included 15 cities, and the numbers may be conservative, because the researchers did not adjust for additional temperature increases from urban heat island effect . The calculations also did not adjust for population growth nor potential adaptation measures. Climate justice advocates, particularly from vulnerable small islands, have been vocal about the need to curtail global warming to just 1.5 degrees Celsius. Studies show that increasing temperatures will lead to disastrous coastal flooding, drought, sea level rise and extreme weather. This most recent study predicts that by meeting this ambitious target, 2,716 lives could be saved every year in New York City alone. Related: Climate twins — which city will your city feel like in 2080? By demonstrating specific numbers and individual lives lost, the researchers are hopeful their study will contribute to mounting evidence that radical action must occur to stop the climate crisis . “Reducing emissions would lead to a smaller increase in heat-related deaths, assuming no additional actions to adapt to higher temperatures,” said Kristie Ebi, a study co-author from the University of Washington. Despite President Trump’s efforts to expand the oil and gas industry both nationally within the U.S. and internationally as a major export, the average American is increasingly concerned and fearful about global warming. In fact, climate change is a central issue for democrats in the upcoming 2020 election and will certainly spur conversation and debate, though time will tell if it will also spur action. + Science Advances Via The Guardian Image via Martin Adams

Go here to see the original: 
A new study estimates how many people will die from global heating in your city

Playing for keeps: Is designing emotional durability the key to a circular economy?

March 14, 2019 by  
Filed under Business, Green

Comments Off on Playing for keeps: Is designing emotional durability the key to a circular economy?

We have too much stuff, and too much consumer detachment. But getting people to see material products as long-term is hard.

Excerpt from:
Playing for keeps: Is designing emotional durability the key to a circular economy?

Purchasing local solar power is a win-win for cities

March 14, 2019 by  
Filed under Business, Green

Comments Off on Purchasing local solar power is a win-win for cities

The back story of Philadelphia’s plan to build a 70-megawatt plant that will power up to 22 percent of its municipal government.

Here is the original:
Purchasing local solar power is a win-win for cities

Next Page »

Bad Behavior has blocked 1199 access attempts in the last 7 days.